Despite a successful campaign against a planning application for a wind farm development proposal with gigantic turbines overlooking Gúgán Barra, the local community in Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh is to lodge an appeal against the decision by Cork County Council.
The appeal is due to the failure of the local planning authority to mention among its reasons for rejecting the application from Wingleaf Ltd any consideration about the second element of the proposal, a battery unit complex at the site near Céim an Fhia.
A strong feature common to many of the 380-plus objections and submissions regarding the development was concern over the safety aspects of building a battery unit complex at the site which is close to Gugán Barra but approximately 5km from Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh and not too far either from Kealkill.
“Although the developer’s application was refused, our concerns remain about several issues, the biggest being battery safety which is a very real worry.” said Coiste Forbartha Bhéal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh chairman, Tadhg Ó Duinnín.
“If we do not appeal this, the developer can appeal against the refusal without making any safety case whatsoever because the planners did not raise this issue when they refused the developer’s first application.”
The Coiste Forbartha have been mounting campaigns on a number of fronts against local windfarm developments which can be an expensive business.
The group is concerned that the village is being completely surrounded by wind farms with one development at Béal a’Ghleanna on the way in from Reidh na nDoirí, another at Cleanrath which is a ghost windfarm at present, the turbines are not operational, due to a decision by the Supreme Court forbidding any further work on the site subject to an application for substitute consent by the company developing the site, Cleanrath Windfarm Ltd. Both Cleanrath and Wingleaf are companies for which Michael Murnane, the Macroom businessman, is a named director.
More than 200 objectors from the locality sent submissions to An Bórd Pleanála to object to the substitute consent being sought for the development. The Supreme Court ruled in December in favour of an application by local horticulturalists, Klaus Bals and Hanna Heubach who said no consideration had been given to the impact of the noise generated by the farm by the planning authority when granting permission. That decision set aside the planning permission granted by An Bórd Pleanála which is the motive for substitute consent bid.
The group intend to get a solicitor on board to help with the latest campaign.
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